Who’s Out There Now: Lacey and Luis

Written By: jeff

Posted On: April 5th, 2011


career break travel adventures, travel around the world

Luis and Lacey stopping to take it in. Copyright LostWorldExpedition.com

In this week’s ¨Who’s Out There Now¨ feature, we bring to you Lacey and Luis, the couple behind LostWorldExpedition.  They have taken it upon themselves to drive from the US down to the tip of Argentina (and perhaps the rest of the world) in a 1987 Toyota Land Cruiser. What was meant to be a 12-18 month excursion, has turned now into (at least) a 3 year journey as they slowed down to enjoy the ride.  There aren’t many Americans going overland in this way, but at a recent lunch with Lacey and Luis in Bogota, they told me that they are seeing more and more people doing.

1. So, where in the world are you answering these questions?

We are currently in Salento, enjoying our third month in wonderful Colombia.

2. So, explain the meaning of the name of your site? How does it link to your style of travel?

Hmmm, we wanted a very grandiose name for our adventure. As children we were both big fans of National Geographic and the grand expeditions that used to be common in the early days of travel. We thought and still think that the world is out there to be discovered and we are going out there to find it for ourselves, even if there is not much that remains “undiscovered.” Hence the name Lost World Expedition. Does it reflect our style of travel? We think so, we have been living out of our LandCruiser for over 20 months now and sometimes it sure feels like an expedition.


career break travel adventures, travel around the world

Going in your own 4X4 has its advantages. Copyright LostWorldExpedition.com

3. Going overland is quite common and a popular way to travel long-term. But, why go in your own vehicle?

The idea for our trip was born a few years ago while backpacking through Guatemala. One day we where riding in a bus and through the window we saw a wonderful photo op that was lost because the bus would not stop (why would it?). Later that day when we arrived at our destination we met three couples driving their own vehicles around the Americas, we looked at each other and realized that was THE way to travel. Driving gives us the freedom go anywhere we want whenever we want, and most importantly stop anytime we want!

4. Mexico’s in the news a lot for what’s happening along the US border. How did you find the country’s safety as travelers?

Mexico has been our favorite country so far (sorry other countries), we spent 4.5 months there and we constantly daydream of going back. We avoided border states and we are hyper vigilant, but to be honest with you we felt very safe and welcomed in Mexico.

career break travel adventures, travel around the world

Having your own vehicle helps you get off the beaten path to find places like this. Copyright LostWorldExpedition.com

5. Gas or diesel? Have you found that it matters in central and south America?

Neither one of us had ever owned a diesel or even driven one before this trip, now there is no going back to gasoline. This is my fourth Toyota LandCruiser and I cant believe I never had a diesel before, I love it. Diesel gives us almost twice the mileage than our same truck with a gas engine would give us. A diesel engine is much more resilient than most gas engines and since our engine has no electronics it can handle the fairly dirty fuel available in Latin America. However, in the end, drive what you have.

6. Career break, nomadic adventure, backpacking, how do you characterize your travels?

Maybe nomadic adventurers? Roadtrippers? Vehicle based vagabonds?

7. What are some of the secrets to travel that you’ve discovered that you think more people who aren’t traveling should know?

The media and “common knowledge” is usually wrong. The other biggie is that you need tons of money to travel, simply not true.

7. What was your first ¨We’re not in Kansas anymore¨ moment?

We had a horrible experience at a border crossing in Honduras and we were mugged at knife point by two drug addled guys in Medellin (still loved that city in spite of the experience).

career break travel adventures in Colombia, travel around the world

Lacey checking out the Chicamocha canyon in Colombia. Copyright LostWorldExpedition.com

8. What’s been your most ¨local¨ experience so far?

We met a Fico while we were visiting Villa de Leyva, Colombia. He invited us to visit him in Bogota, we did and wound up staying with him and his family for 3 weeks. They immediately adopted us, treated us as family and changed our perception of the city. I think we may have not even liked Bogota if not for them. Because of them we also visited several fincas of friends and family, an unforgettable and cherished experience.

9. What kinds of emergency supplies are a must for a long-term road trip?

It depends on what kind of travel you expect. As avid offroaders we carry a few “musts” a decent first aid kit and the know how to use it, an air compressor for inflating tires, a Hi-Lift Jack, lots of potable water, lots of food (cans are great), and a few others. I think an important item we carry is a SPOT Messenger, a GPS transceiver that can send our coordinates to designated email addresses, Twitter and Facebook. The Spot can also be used as an emergency beacon if needed.

career break travel adventures, travel around the world

Luis at sunrise. Copyright LostWorldExpedition.com

10. What’s your secret for getting the most out of your journey?

We have learned to be flexible, take things as they come, and to be patient (Luis is working hard on the patience thing). Things don’t always work out as we expect, but this usually turns out to be a good thing.

11. Finally, our lightning round.

  • Best dish you’ve found so far: any Mole in Oaxaca
  • Most exotic food eaten: Hormigas culonas (ants in Colombia), termites (Belize), Chapulines (grasshoppers in Oaxaca), assorted beef head parts in tacos all over Mexico
  • Most breathtaking moment: Welcoming an amazing sunrise in San Juanico, Baja California.
  • Biggest disappointment- with fear of being ostracized: Cartagena. Don’t get us wrong, we really enjoyed it, but there is much hype surrounding this city.
  • Most memorable place: Baja California, Mexico
  • Most memorable person: Our gracious host in Los Mochis, Mexico Edmundo Fuentes
  • Best thing to have on a long bus ride: Luis hates busses! But if you have to do it, take a warm jacket, especially for overnight buses.
  • Worst thing to have on a long bus ride: Diarrhea!
  • Best thing you packed: iPhone and Lacey’s kindle!
  • Dumbest thing you packed: too much stuff!
  • Funniest travel habit your partner has: Lacey is a Kindle addict, she would take it underwater if she could. Luis gets serious road rage at many of the crazy drivers in Latin America and hits the horn button even though the horn hasn’t worked in over a year!
  • Place you wish you could’ve stayed longer: all of Mexico!
career break travel adventures, travel around the world

Crossing the Tropic of Cancer. Copyright LostWorldExpedition.com

You can follow Lacey and Luis online at LostWorldExpedition, on Facebook and on Twitter @LostWorldExp

Every week, Career Break Secrets profiles a different traveler or traveling couple who are embracing the ¨Because Life Is Out There TM¨ travel spirit.  These are people who have taken the plunge to embark on a career break and are currently traveling the world.

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